CFN – There is a void in community leadership in Cornwall Ontario. It’s not just Mayor Kilger and his cabal of councilors who spend their time covering up scandal after scandal making Rob Ford look like Mike Duffy.
We allegedly elect people to serve in political office because of their ability to lead. They tell us their qualifications during elections, but at the end of the day how many times does that leadership simply turn into cronyism, partisan politics, and simply passing of the buck to consultants or city management?
Is that leadership? Same for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Team Cornwall in our city. So far all Mr Kevin Hargreaves, who if the buzz is true wants to be a mini Rick Shaver and now has political aspirations and wants to run for council, has achieved is gone hat in hand and got a discount from the city for the use of the Civic Complex for their Spring Show. How do you cut taxes to business when you cut revenue to the city? Instead of fixing the ills of the Spring show just ask for a break on rent? Is that community leadership?
Our local economy is under such severe downward pressure Pawnshops are stopping to take pawn. I spoke with one owner that said it just sucks up too much money. He cited one example of someone having a $15 item that they pay $5 per month in pawn fees for and have since 2010! Another shop is cutting down to 4 days open and stopping pawn while another is simply cutting back what they’ll accept to the point where they essentially aren’t really a pawn shop.
When the pawn shops are suffering that’s a Canary in a Coal mine.
Empty stores and struggling businesses. As a seller of advertising we hear the horror stories on the street as businesses struggle.
That’s why community leadership and people working together are so important and that’s why yesterdays Strategic Planning Community Consultation was such a complete and utter failure.
As one person pointed out:
We just had one in 2011. Did they do any of the things they talked about back then?
Was it just for the benefit of new CAO Norm Levac? Does he wish to imprint his own vision for the city? I’m not sure after he fumbled the ball on the 100 Letter Cornwall Campaign.
“We are embarking on an important strategic planning exercise, and input from the public is a key part of this exercise,” said Norm Levac, Chief Administrative Officer. “I would encourage residents to join us at this session and provide input on their concerns and priorities for the City.”
Which is a valid question as it was under this council’s mandate. So I pulled the info and here it is below. It’s almost like Bob Peters took all the hot button topics and just threw them at a wall? The photo is pretty, but can you tell me what it means? It reminds me of those little building blocks I played with as a kid way back and would stack. Only these blocks have catch phrases on them.
Less than 60 people attended the four hour session at the Civic complex. Of that group many were either connected to the city or agency that are connected to the city. Out of a city of 46,000 you already have failed. Do we blame the taxpayers or do we ask why would the city, for such an important process, schedule it on a weekday afternoon and not really advertise it especially on the most read newspaper in the city of Cornwall?
That meant that the only people who could go would be those most likely either retired or on city payrolls. Nothing wrong with those people, but surely you would not get the results that you would if say….600 people showed up as happened with the Waterfront Consultation process?
Will any result discussed at council have any true merit or weight given the extremely low turnout by the population.
While Syd Gardiner was the only councilor to show up; it was council that decided to waste taxpayer dollars by having this exercise.
And that ladies and gentlemen are some of the reasons why the City of Cornwall is where it is. Community leadership from the top down. And if you look at the media report of another newspaper you can see and smell the whitewash which is why it’s so critical that people not only hold our politicians accountable, but our media as well.
All this on the same day that Cornwall Living magazine came out. The City spends around $20K per year pimping out this brochure for friends and family of Bob Peters and his little clique and advertisers of the Seaway News. If you’re not part of that inner circle as many have complained, you’re not considered to be living in Cornwall.
My questions as to how much this very futile series of exercises are costing the taxpayer have also yet to be answered by City Hall.
You can post your comments below.
Over two days in February 2011, Cornwall City Council
met to establish strategic priorities for the current term
The sessions were open to the public and included
reviews of various reports including, but not limited to, a Financial Sustainability Review, Solid Waste Management Program and the 2011 Five Year Capital Forecast. The Strategic Priorities adopted during the previous term of Council were also reviewed. This report summarizes
the priorities and objectives established at the meeting.
It is expected that these objectives would be expanded
and revised as necessary over the next four years.
Council established two guiding principles that will govern decisions and actions over the next four years:
- Fiscal Affordability
These guiding principles will help direct efforts that fall
within three strategic priorities:
- Economic Development
- Social Development
- Environmental Stewardship
It is imperative that fiscal issues be considered as municipal programs and services are developed and delivered. There is a clear recognition of the need to keep municipal taxes as low as possible, and the responsibility to ensure expenditures are efficient and affordable.
On June 21, 2011 Council met to establish a goal of minimizing any future tax increases over their four year term. Having recently passed the 2011 budget which resulted in a 1.1% increase in the tax levy, future tax increases over the next 3 years will be capped at 7% net of any new assessment growth. This will allow residents and businesses to effectively budget, knowing that the overall objective will see Cornwall taxes continue to remain at or below the rate of inflation.
Council and administration acknowledged that financial decisions, procedures and reports need to be transparent and accountable.
In June 2011, a brochure explaining the 2010 City budget was distributed to all City tax payers. The brochure can also be found in a printer-friendly format on the City website.
Long term planning with regards to both operational and capital budgeting is a fiscal model that is desirable.
Programs and services need to be developed with regards to ongoing sustainability to ensure that decisions do not have a negative impact on City operations in future years. Cornwall needs to be developed in a manner that is sustainable, from an economic, social and environmental point of view.
Council also identified a number of objectives that could be established in order to meet the strategic priority goals. Action/business plans will be identified and developed that can be implemented to meet those objectives.
Economic Development Priority Objectives
- Taxation Level
– Police Audit
– Prov/Fed Tax Revenue
- Business Park Development
- Waterfront Development
– Asset Management
- Port of Entry
- Development Charges
- Population and Business Growth
- Regional Interaction
Social Development Priority Objectives
- Arts and Culture
- Medical Recruitment
- Skills Development
- Population Growth
– New Residents
– Retain Youth
Environmental Stewardship Priority Objectives
- Solid Waste Diversion
- Energy Efficiency
- Water Efficiency
- Land Use Planning
– Brownfield Program
– Infill Development
– Housing Stock
– Property Standards
- Environment Sustainability Plan
- Active Transportation
- Urban Forest
As action/business plans are further developed, they will be submitted to City Council. During the term of Council, regular reports will also be provided to Council with updates on work associated with the strategic priorities.